Saturday, July 13, 2024

Liverpool become Premier League champions after 30-year wait


Liverpool have ended their 30-year wait for a topflight title after being crowned Premier League champions following Manchester City’s 2-1 loss at Chelsea on Thursday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side defeated Crystal Palace 4-0 on Wednesday evening to leave them needing just two points from their remaining seven games to win the title. But with second-placed Manchester City now 23 points behind with seven matches remaining after Thursday’s result at Stamford Bridge, Liverpool have an unassailable lead at the top of the standings.
The triumph brings to an end a 30-year drought as Klopp’s class of 2020 ended their wait for a topflight title that stretched back to 1990, when Kenny Dalglish’s side won the old Football League championship. This season’s feat means Liverpool now have 19 titles to their name, one behind Manchester United, who sit on 20.
“I have no words. It’s unbelievable,” Klopp told Sky Sports in an interview after the Chelsea win. “It’s much more than I ever thought, to become champions with this outstanding club is unbelievable.”
Liverpool broke all sorts of records during a memorable campaign. They put together a record-equaling run of 18 consecutive wins from October through to Feb. 29 and have won every league match at home this season, making it a record 23 on the bounce. They also set a club record of 44 matches without defeat, stretching back to last season.
“It’s an incredible achievement for my players,” Klopp said.
The long wait has set off celebrations all throughout the football-mad city. And Klopp said the feeling of being a champion with the Reds was indescribable.
“It’s the best thing I could ever imagine and it’s more than I ever dreamed of,” he said.
Liverpool’s principal owner, John W. Henry, paid tribute to the team’s “magnificent achievement” on social media.
“‘This was a season for the ages and for the faithful of Liverpool Football Club,” Henry, who is head of Fenway Sports Group, tweeted.
“‘It has been an incredible year of magnificent achievement culminating tonight in capturing the Premier League title.
“‘This in addition to winning a European championship, a Super Cup and a world championship – the totality of this accomplishment has brought respite and joy to so many in a year filled with so much tragedy.
“‘LFC has made the beautiful game more beautiful than ever.
“It is said, ‘We are Liverpool’. You, the supporters are Liverpool in every sense and you continue to drive the club forward a historic club making history once again.”
When football was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, there were times Klopp feared his Liverpool side would be denied the chance to win the title on the pitch. When the league was suspended in March, Liverpool were 25 points clear at the top.
Discussions followed on how best to restart the league. Klopp admitted before Liverpool’s match against Everton last Sunday that he was worried the league would be decided by points per game or even voided. But to Klopp’s relief, the league restarted on June 17 and since then Liverpool have drawn with Merseyside rivals Everton 0-0 and swiped aside Palace to get over the finishing line.
Klopp joins Bob Paisley, Kenny Dalglish and Bill Shankly in Liverpool’s pantheon of managerial greats in winning a league title, with Jordan Henderson, who spearheaded the Players Together Initiative during lockdown to raise essential funds for the National Health Service (NHS), now a Premier League-winning captain.
Manchester City did their best to pin back Liverpool’s lead throughout the season, but there was no stopping Klopp’s runaway side. They have led the standings since the second week of the season, and suffered their first Premier League defeat only in February, with a surprise 3-0 loss against Watford.
A slightly dodgy spell of form followed as Liverpool were knocked out of the FA Cup and the Champions League, but the season hiatus allowed star goalkeeper Alisson to return to full fitness and prompted Liverpool to shift back into familiar winning ways.
Klopp said midweek that it was “unthinkable” that any team would be 20 points ahead of Manchester City meaning his team “must’ve done a couple of things really well and right” – but the result at Stamford Bridge on Thursday will spark joy throughout Liverpool. In the 30-year drought Liverpool won the 2005 and 2019 Champions Leagues and three FA Cups, but the league triumph sees them return to the summit of English football.
Guardiola paid tribute to Liverpool after his side’s loss.
“Big congratulations for Liverpool,” said the Spaniard, whose title-winning side finished 25 points ahead of Klopp’s team two seasons ago and pipped them by a point last term.
“After 30 years without the title they played every game this season like it was their last with incredible focus. We were not consistent enough,” he added.
It has been a fantastic campaign, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane chipping in with 17 and 15 league goals, respectively. The full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson have 20 assists between them, while that lethal front three of Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino chipped in with a further 21 assists. Alisson has the most clean sheets in the Premier League this term with 12, while Klopp has won five of the seven Manager of the Month awards.
It has been a tale of domination, but Liverpool will have to wait to celebrate it with their fans with the Premier League season being played out behind closed doors.

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